Priest Charged in Child-Pornography Case
Former Pastor Facing 20 Counts

By Onell R. Soto
December 22, 2004

A Roman Catholic priest whose Point Loma parish office was raided by federal agents and San Diego police in May has been charged with 20 misdemeanor counts of possessing child pornography.

The Rev. Gary Michael Holtey has not been arrested, has been cooperating with authorities through his lawyer and is scheduled to be arraigned today in San Diego Superior Court, a prosecutor said yesterday.

Deputy City Attorney Judy Taschner said she will ask a judge to set bail at $50,000.

Holtey is one of more than 100 people in San Diego and Imperial counties linked to child-pornography sites through credit card transactions in an international investigation, authorities said.

Agents searched the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church and Academy parish office and found printouts of child erotica and pornography, gay pornography videos, film negatives of nude males, two computers and WebTV, a device used for accessing the Internet on a television, according to court documents.

Holtey told investigators he had looked at child pornography for years on the Internet and that the investigators would find material he had collected in a chest of drawers next to his bed, according to court documents. He also admitted he had downloaded the material in his office, according to the documents.

Holtey was pastor of the parish until he went on leave shortly after church officials were notified of the May 6 raid. He resigned later that month "to address personal issues."

The church's Web site still lists him as a member of the clergy, but without an assignment. Taschner said investigators have no evidence that anybody at the church or the school was sexually abused by the priest.

Each of the charges carries a possible sentence of a year in jail, she said.

Holtey's lawyer, Dan Williams, was unavailable for comment late yesterday.

Investigators found hundreds of images of young boys in sexually explicit poses when they analyzed the seized computer equipment, prosecutors said in the documents.

Earlier, officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Holtey was one of about 130 people linked to child-pornography sites in Eastern Europe. Agents served search warrants on more than 30 people whose work might bring them close to children.

At least six people have been charged or arrested, including two members of the military, a former assistant high school principal and an Encinitas elementary school teacher.


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